Background: Leaf and stripe rusts are two major wheat diseases, causing significant yield losses. The preferred way for protecting wheat from rust pathogens is by introgression of rust resistance traits from wheat-related wild species. To avoid genetic drag due to replacement of large wheat chromosomal segments by the alien chromatin, it is necessary to shorten the alien chromosome segment in primary recombinants. Results: Here we report on shortening of an alien chromosome segment in wheat that carries leaf and stripe rust resistance from Sharon goatgrass (Aegilops sharonensis). Rust resistant wheat introgression lines were selected and the alien region was mapped using genotyping by sequencing. Single polymorphic nucleotides (SNP) were identified and used to generate diagnostic PCR markers. Shortening of the alien fragment was achieved by induced homoeologous pairing and lines with shortened alien chromosome were identified using the PCR markers. Further reduction of the segment was achieved in tertiary recombinants without losing the rust resistance. Conclusions: Alien chromatin in wheat with novel rust resistance genes was characterized by SNP markers and shortened by homoeologous recombination to avoid deleterious traits. The resulting wheat lines are resistant to highly virulent races of leaf and stripe rust pathogens and can be used as both resistant wheat in the field and source for gene transfer to other wheat lines/species.
- Aegilops sharonensis